Dissecting a Pet First-Aid Kit

1staidtraining 2

Well, I missed my owner all Sunday because she was training to be certified Pet Tech.

I flipped through her training manual to see what it was all about.

First, she and many other Four Paws pet sitters learned Pet CPR for both cats and dogs.

Then, they learned how to make splints, treat bites from snakes and stings from bugs, access a pet that has been poisoned, revive a heat-exhausted pet, and treat hypothermia.

Whew! And I thought my day was busy chasing the green Anole AND shredding mom’s new wicker chair. Can you say splinters galore??

Next, I wandered over to my owners  bag by the front door and noticed a new Tupperware box full of stinky stuff. It said “PET FIRST AID KIT” and contained:

1. Gauze pads
2. Gauze bandaging
3. Scissors
4. Two paint stirs for a makeshift splint
5. Adhesive Tape
6. Magnifying glass (to get stingers and splinters out)
7. Flashlight (to check for choking hazards in throat or problems at night)
8. Blanket (to help with hypothermia)
9. Karo Syrup (for Diabetic)
10. Syringe
11. Plastic bags (for stool samples or to clean up mess)
12. Extra leash and collar
13. Needle nose pliers
14. Gloves
15. Muzzle
16. Medicine:
a. antihistamine (gel cap so you can squirt in pets mouth)
b. Antibiotic (example: Neorsporin)
c. Baking Soda (a mild alkali for neutralizing burns caused by acid)
d. Kaopectate
e. Petroleum Jelly (sterile lubricant for thermometer)
f. Hydrogen Peroxide (to induce vomiting)

I guess she wants to be prepared for any emergency. Who knows what kind of trouble I could get into next?

Pet Tech Pet Saver Manual 2014

Do Pets Get Spring Allergies? But Of Course!

Itches Puppy

They actually inherit them from their parents, just like humans. In the Springtime, the allergies can be classified into either atopic or flea allergies.

Atopic allergies result from an inhaled allergen, such as pollen, house dust, or mold and often result in a skin reaction. The skin can  become dry and flaky, causing your pet to scratch the area excessively.

Flea allergies occur when the dog’s body has a reaction to a protein in flea saliva (that’s right!) Remarkably, it only takes one flea bite to trigger a reaction in a sensitive dog!

“If left untreated, dogs and cats with seasonal allergies will scratch or lick themselves constantly. In an attempt to relieve themselves, dogs and cats often create sores that become secondary infections.” -AAHA.

So, to cure your pet’s vicious circle of scratching/licking/infection -try one of the remedies below!

For Cats
Spring irritants:  Trees, grass, weed, mold, mildew and dust pollens,  Fleas and flea-control products

Signs of allergy include:    

•        Itchy skin/increased scratching
•        Sneezing, coughing (if the cat has asthma), wheezing
•        Itchy, runny eyes
•        Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly seen in flea allergies)
•        Itchy ears and ear infections
•        Vomiting
•        Diarrhea
•        Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
•        Paw chewing/swollen paws

1.  Benadryl (both oral and topical)
2. fish oil or other herbal essence
3. wet tea bags
4. weekly shampooing with an all natural PABA shampoo (example: Septiderm Skin Care Bath)

For Dogs
Spring irritants: House dust mites,  pollen,  mold,  trees and grasses, fleas, and even your unsuspecting household cat.

Signs of allergy include:
•        Open sores and loss of hair in one area
•        Scratching
•        Biting and chewing on paws and legs
•        Runny, itchy, stuffy nose
•        Sneezing
•        Paw chewing/swollen paws

1.  medicated shampoos
2. topical sprays that can help soothe your dog’s itchy skin
3. oatmeal bath helps eliminate the itch temporarily
4. antibiotics may be necessary if the allergy is severe; ask for a Topical steroid spray.
5. Some natural products include: Clora Care – a natural antibiotic solution as well as tea tree and coconut oils.
6. Finally, dogs can get allergy shots, a form of immunotherapy

Finally, remember to consult your veterinarian on which products are best for your furry friend!

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

Dog And Cat Fight

Is it a nature or nurture thing for animals of different species to get along?

Why do some breeds seem more likely to pursue cats?

After checking dog versus cat websites and authorities, there are a number of theories about how to training your cat and dog to get along.

Also coming into play is the fact that certain breeds that do better co-existing with cats (see below).

Having said that, HOW you introduce your new pet to the existing pets is very important.

The key to building a good relationship is:

1. Start with the new pet in a crate/contained area for the first few days.

That way your other pets can sniff it and get used to its smell/sounds.

2. Have short, supervised visits for the new pet and make sure the dog is tired out first (after a walk is a good time).

3. Make sure to praise and reward your first pet when they sniff the new member and then leave it alone.

The key command  “Leave it” will greatly help with dogs.

4. If you know someone that has a cat-friendly dog, invite them over to your home, allowing the cats in your household to get more familiar with the smells that accompany a dog.

5. Feed your new pet and resident pet on each side of a closed door –  not too close though initially. “That way they associate something positive (food) with the other animals smell.

Slowly move the dishes closer each day”. -Humane Society

6. The ASPCA recommends “rotating which animal has freedom and which is confined to allow each animal plenty of time to investigate the other one’s scent for the first few days.

Sometimes the dog should be confined to a crate or another room (or taken to another location if he can’t be left alone) to allow the cat time to roam free and investigate the smell of the dog”.

*Always make sure the cat has somewhere it can jump up to get away if needed.

Make sure to “provide plenty of positive reinforcements for appropriate behavior as an incentive to get your dog to continue to behave well in the cat’s presence” -Humane Society.

So, what dog breeds are best for getting along with a kitty? A lap dog with lower energy, easily trained, and a gentle manner.

Good small breed choices:  Pekingese, Pomeranian, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, Maltese, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Shetland Sheepdog and Chinese Crested.

Good large breed choices:
Labrador, Poodle, English Setter, Bernese Mountain Dog, Golden Retriever, Sussex Spaniel

What breeds have more of a personality conflict with cats? Breeds that were developed to chase after small prey, like rabbits or squirrels.

Their instincts may take over and they could pursue the cat, unintentionally hurting it.

Listed below are breeds that may take more work to teach them how to act around cats.

Many instinctively chase after smaller creatures so you will be re-training what they are hard-wired to do: pursue!

A southern-bred hunting dog, the Bluetick Coonhound, can be stubborn and hard to train to not pursue cats.

The Alaskan Malamute and Australian Cattle Dog both have a high prey drive, along with Whippets, Greyhounds, Saluki and the German Pinscher.

Both the Fox Terrier and Manchester Terrier were bred to hunt rats and have a high stamina for pursuit.

The Afghan Hound has a strong interest in chasing small animals like cats.

Weimaraners are also know to be extremely aggressive towards cats.

Remember, the initial visits must be supervised, and with time the pets will slowly come to know each others scent and behaviors.

Of course there will still be days where they chase each other – like cats and dogs!



Your Pet Might Have Ringworm If….

Little dog and cat at the veterinary checkup

You find a circle of hair loss (ring) and the skin is red, scabbing over/puffy. They are frequently scratching at one spot. Also, their nails may be cracked and brittle.

This fungal infection CAN be transferred to humans, with children being more susceptible, by direct contact or touching a contaminated object/surface. Incubation time is 7-14 days.

What is ring worm? First, it is NOT a worm. Ringworm is a fungi that thrives on hair (hence animals are great hosts). Its spores can exist for months without direct contact. Ringworm lives in soil, bathrooms, basically anywhere moist and warm. It is a similar fungus to Athlete’s foot. It feeds on the keratin that is found in the outer layers of skin, hair, and nails.

“Although mild cases resolve spontaneously in three to four months, all cases of ringworm should be treated to prevent progression and spread to other pets and people in the household.” -PetMD

In Humans
Acquired: By contact with the infected hair of dogs and cats, typically found on carpets, brushes, combs, toys, and furniture.

Ringworm can invade the nails. This results in nails that are dry, cracked, brittle, and deformed. Another sign are skin lesions such as small patches of skin thickening and reddening with raised scaly edges. Frequently found in the beard, scalp, groin area or feet. If on your scalp, you may develop bald patches.

Children are especially susceptible.

1. antifungal shampoo containing miconazole. Apply over-the-counter antifungal or drying powders, lotions, or creams that contain miconazole, clotrimazole to affected areas.

2. Also, wash everything where hair may be found (brushes, bed, bathroom, sofas) with bleach/hot water.

3. antifungal tablets, the two main types of antifungal tablet being terbinafine or griseofulvin

In Dogs
Acquired: Microsporum canis Ringworm in dogs is primarily a disease of puppies and young adults. Contact with another dog, cats claws, infected soil or surface.

A spreading circle of hair loss with scaly skin at the center and a red ring at the periphery. Typical areas of involvement are the face, ears, paws, and tail. The nails may show signs of being brittle and breaking off. Frequent licking and scratching.

You will need the following items: a disposable sponge, 2 buckets, a plastic cup, a disposable towel, miconazole shampoo, vinegar and Betadine. Fill one bucket with lukewarm water to use for your pet’s wash. Fill the other bucket with a mixture of white vinegar and lukewarm water, 4 parts water to every part vinegar, for your pet’s rinse. White vinegar is a natural antiseptic. Wash and suds pet from toes to tail. Use fresh vinegar rinse water to avoid re-infecting.

Tablets of Griseofulvin taken orally are the most common drug prescribed by vets, although newer drugs such as itraconazole or terbinafine (Lamasil) are often preferred since they have fewer side effects.

3. Apply a topical antifungal agent containing miconazole 2 percent cream or 1 percent lotion twice a dayFinally, on a nightly basis, coat your pet with Lamisil or any over the counter Athlete’s Foot infection cream for two weeks. The key ingredient in each product is the same – Miconazole.

In Cats
Acquired: Kittens and Seniors are most likely to contract it from contact with spores found in soil or contaminated surface. Can also get it from being scratched by another cat that is infected.

A spreading circle of hair loss with scaly skin at the center and a red ring at the periphery. What looks like “ashes” on the cats chin. Many times there are few visible symptoms, just the constant itching caused the secondary infection.

1. Bathe (see above BATHE section, same as for dogs). Contain your pet to one place: a crate, single entrance room, while you are disinfecting the home.

2. Disinfect everything from floors to bedding to sofas. Anywhere your pet has shed fur needs to be treated.

Soak all fabric bedding in a mixture of Chlorox infused soap and water. Make sure to measure five cups hot water to one cup Chlorox. Cats skin can be sensitive so air dry completely before letting them lay on it.

3. Apply a topical treatment like Clotrimazole, PetsBestRx Ringworm or any other medication with Miconazole.

4. Administer oral treatment from the pet store: Ketoconazole tablets work well

****If your pet is not responding to the anti-fungal treatments, than perhaps your pet is suffering from something other than ringworms. Consult your vet.***

Poisonous Bugs in North Carolina

Brown Recluse Spider Building Its Web
“Seeing a spider is nothing. It becomes a problem when it disappears.”

BEWARE: some creepy crawlies that come into your home and yard are poisonous to your pet. Three of the most common and dangerous insect pests found in the Triangle area are:
black widows, brown recluse and fire ants. The two spiders will not bite unless provoked. The fire ants, however, will travel up your leg if you stand near their ant mound and are aggressive.

1. The Black Widow spider is one of the more infamous spiders, recognized by the shiny black body with a red hourglass shape on the abdomen. She is also known for eating the male after mating. The bite of an adult female black widow spider can be fatal, and they are most aggressive when they are protecting an egg sac. The male black widow spider is much smaller and not dangerous.

“The first sign is sharp pain at the site of the bite. Later the dog develops intense excitability, fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pains. Seizures, shock, and death can occur, especially with the bite of the black widow spider. An antivenin is available to treat these bites.” Pet Web MD.

2. The Recluse spider – Brown recluses are small, with evenly colored legs void of stripes or spines. A few species have a marking shaped like a violin on them. They are nocturnal and prefer to hide in crawl spaces, wood piles, or under house porches/decks. Bites occur when an animal rolls over in its sleep on top of a prowling recluse, or unintentionally disturbs the spiders resting place.

“Reaction typically occurs at the site of the bite, with an ulcerated necrotic wound that results in the death of the surrounding soft tissue. The wound is slow to heal, leaving an open wound that is at risk of further infection.” – Pet MD

3. Fire Ants – Are aggressive and have an intensely painful and burning sting. If you accidently walk on their mound, they will swarm. “The stings cause a painful wound that turns into a pustule, which can become infected and tends to itch while it heals.” -Virginia State.

To treat their bite, you can pick up an antihistamine from the vet or pet store to help. Calamine lotion applied right to the bites can also soothe your pet.

Another bug you don’t want to handle is the Millipede with bright yellow color patterns. It secretes a compound containing cyanide. It is found in parks and on trails in wooded areas. The sting causes a local reaction at site, and depending on the size of your dog, can be a minor irritation or more serious. A paste made of baking soda and water can be applied right to the site.

Some websites list insects alphabetically, with a close-up photo to aide with identification. There are brief summaries attached, or you can click on the insect name for an in-depth report that includes their habitat, life cycle, and if they are poisonous. Click this link to try it out:


Another good guide that has both thumbnail and larger photos to reference identification:

Springtime Bugs

Tabby Kitten And Ladybird On On Nose Isolated

Creeping across the floor today are several of my favorite bugs- millipedes!

My owner doesn’t appreciate them the way I do, preferring to jump away whereas I pounce on top of them. Eyeball to antennae, I examine my prey carefully, batting it around. A wonderful movement ripples across all those legs, and the bug seems to be waving at me. Quickly, I slap my paw down and watch it skitter across the hall.

A natural hunter, I pride myself in being able to out run any insect. My patience is infinite when they try to hide under the rug. My stealth is world-famous.  I never miss a bug when pouncing.

I love Spring, when the temperatures warm up and millions of creepy crawlies rise from their hiding places. Some were under the deck, others in the woodpile, under the mulch around the garden, or in the crawlspace. According to the BUG MAN that comes to kill all my favorite playmates, these  are all areas people should be checking and spraying with insecticide. I don’t want to get insecticide, so I researched some natural options to keep bugs away:

Lemon seed oil, Orange Guard, Herb Mint Oil from a health food store, or Diatomaceous Earth (DE) FOOD GRADE from a feed store. Safer Brand  Poison Free Ant & Roach Killer is another option.

Why kill them? Is it because one of them can lay thousands of eggs? Hatch hundreds of baby buggies? Or, like the ant, (my least favorite bug because they don’t squirm, jump, or play well with others) leave scent trails to attract other bugs to your cupboards. Nothing like eating my cat food after 500 ants have invaded the bag and crawled all over it. I refuse to share!

Dear owner, much as I love chasing and chomping on little critters, there are two issues I must inform you of:

1. I could CHOKE on a hard exoskeleton! Yep, eating those tough beatles cam be tricky to swallow and they “are rough on… the digestive tract; the shell may wind up causing  vomiting up of the pieces rather than passing them out the other end.” -The Nest.

2. If I ingest a bug that has been hit with fogger insect spray or insecticide from the garden, this could be potentially fatal. Several websites advise researching bug sprays  BEFORE you use them in your home or outside on the lawn. Veterinarian’s may also be able to help find  cat-friendly products.    ALWAYS let your bugman know that you have pets and need non-toxic/ pet-friendly products used in your home.

Oh- I gotta go! A beautiful blue beetle just crawled in from under the door. Stealth time!

Early Spay / Neuter is Very Controversial


“Over the decades, as animal sheltering has increased in visibility and animal rescue has become more popular, spay/neuter has hardened into an almost militant social policy.”-Whole Dog Journal

Early neutering is a controversial topic. After reading over 30 articles and numerous blogs from veterinarians, I have summarized  the Pros and Cons identified in the last few years. For every article against early neutering, there is another for it.  and both sides support their cases with facts. The choice is really an individual one, depending on the pet breed and  whether you plan to continue the lineage of a showdog.

Early Neutering Debate: 

1. Less Obesity
2. Less aggressive
3. Less likely to have “male” behaviors: fighting, jumping a fence, or getting hit by a car.
4. Less chance of Testicular Cancer

CONS of not neutering
1. Higher chance of Cancer and joint problems.
“ Both the joint problems and the cancers that they have linked are relatively common in large-boned dogs, so the challenge is to prove whether the early neuter actually caused an increase in the incidence. There have been no studies that prove this.” -American Kennel Society.

2. Higher chance of CCL rupture (Canine cruciate ligament) in neutered dogs

“For years the veterinary community has been aware that early-spay and neuter may impact orthopedic health in dogs. Through a very detailed analysis and inclusion of body condition score as a risk factor, Dr. Hart was able to show that timing of spay and neuter does indeed have health implications,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, Chief Scientific Officer for the AKC Canine Health Foundation

3. Slightly longer legs and less “masculine” muscle development

4. Possible endocrine problems:
“Dr. Becker noticed many of her canine patients were developing endocrine-related disorders. After a conversation with an expert in the field of veterinary endocrinology, Dr. Becker realized her practice of insisting on early spays or neuters for every dog patient had left many of them with serious health problems.” – Healthy Pets.com

5. Scientific evidence is mounting that gonad removal can deliver serious consequences to a dog’s future health. Among those consequences: shortened lifespan, atypical Cushing’s disease, cardiac tumors, bone cancer, abnormal bone growth and development, CCL ruptures, and hip dysplasia.

Early Spaying Debate:

1. Spaying females before 6 months is less controversial than neutering; preventing the first heat nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer which is much more common than bone cancer.

2.  Spayed dogs no longer experience the hormonal changes during heat cycles that turn your pet into a nervous dog that cries incessantly and attracts unwanted male dogs.

3. Prevention of  Pyometra, a “uterine disease that occurs most often in intact female dogs six years or older that have never been pregnant. Pyometra is a hormonal abnormality with or without the presence of a secondary bacterial infection.” – Universityvet.com

CONS  to spaying early
1. Missing female hormones.

2. Delayed Closure of Growth Plates.

Females “spayed at 7 weeks had significantly delayed closure of growth plates as compared to those spayed at 7 months, and those spayed at 7 months had significantly delayed closure of growth plates as compared to those left intact”. – Canine Athlete.com

One question owners should ask: “Is there an alternative procedure that can be done so that my  pet is fixed but not losing its sexual gonads with the important hormones they secrete. That’s a whole different Blog…


“Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers” http://www.akcchf.org/news-events/news/health-implications-in-early.html#sthash.Hs5baSmn.dpuf

Are You Awake? (Or, Why I Wake Up Before Dawn)

Walk With A Cat.

Yes, that scratching at your bedroom door is not the boogeyman – it is far worse…

It is your wild and crazy cat!

I will meow and wail until I hear your lovely voice cry out -ah-ha! I got what I wanted – attention.

I will pace and race around the rooms, knocking off knick-knacks and clearing the counters of any small objects to make disturbing noises.

I will flex each paw, popping out individual nails carefully honed to make the most offensive scratching ever heard. Over. And Over. And Over on your closed door.

Finally, I will get fed.

Why? Is it that you appreciate my exciting tricks and sound-making factory? Or are you desperate for a few minutes of quiet?

I understand that you MIGHT want another solution to my wee-hour antics? So though it pains me, here are my TOP THREE ideas:

1. Let me out on a screened in porch where I can chase bugs.

2. Let me out on a LEASH while you garden. PetSmart makes a great adjustable harness that I can’t get out of easily. (Use a long nylon leash that won’t get tangled).

3. Provide me with a playmate! Even thought I am independent, I am also lonely. It is a myth that cat’s don’t need anyone around and are “just fine” being home alone all day.

According to that VET you send me to I am “Sleeping too much during the day, home alone too often, and in need of stimulation. Your cat is bored ma’am…” (well DUH).
“…this leads to being awake at night and FIRED UP in the morning.”

Some good interactive play with me at night well help wear me out (laser pointer, small ball, dragging a string).

Are you still awake?

Then you just might want to reread this article and invest in one of my TOP THREE ideas.

Where’d You Come Up With That Name?

Hello my name is color signs with blank white copyspace for text

Does your pet answer to Smokey? Spot? Or a more traditional “Rover”? How do pet owners come up with their furry friends names, and what are the most popular?

An interesting fact for 2013: pet names and popular kid names didn’t overlap for the first time! The Founder of Rover.com stated: “We know from surveys that dog owners think of their dogs as family members. Turns out they don’t name them the same. The top 10 dog names, male and female, don’t overlap with the top 10 baby names.”

So how do owners come up with these original pet names? Families with kids often let them name the pets, and end up with favorite foods (Candy, Sugar Bear, Oreo) or popular characters they know (Scooby, Shadow, Flash).

With just a few exceptions, such as Max, Buddy and Bear, most of the names on the 2013 Top 10 lists “aren’t what would be considered traditional dog names,” says Easterly. There is no Rover, for example, in the Top 100.

The most unique names for a pet? “In a survey released this summer by the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., a dog named Sir Knuckles da Dragon and a cat named Cheeto Burrito were the Wackiest Pet Names.” -USA Today.

“Interestingly, none of the top 10 baby names for boys and girls on the human side made it into the top 10 male and female dog names”, researched by Rover.com that surveyed pet sitters and pet companies. Below are the most popular male and female dog names of 2013.

Male Names for Dogs:     Best Friends
1. Max
2. Charlie
3. Buddy
4. Jack
5. Cooper
6. Rocky
7. Riley
8. Tobey
9. Bear
10. Harley

Female Names for Dogs:
1. Bella
2. Lucy
3. Bailey
4. Daisy
5. Lily
6. Molly
7. Lola
8. Maggie
9. Roxy
10. Missy

A fun website, BowowMeow (http://www.bowwow.com.au/) provides all kinds of information about “pet names with personality.” There are many ways to search, by Arts & Literature, Famous People, Personality to name a few!

And for all you cat lovers, there are several websites that have a “Cat name generator” to help you come up with a name for your feline. Friskies and My Pet Houses ask for descriptions of your pet and then come up with a name. PawNation just creates wacky combinations to go with the pet owners last name! To try these three sites, just click the link below:




Finally, the most popular cat names for 2013 were:
1. Angel
2. Charlie
3. Mittens
4. Milkshake
5. Oreo
6. Lily
7. Pepsi
8. Ellie
9. Amber

Remember, you will be calling this name 30-times a day for the next decade, so choose wisely!

Pets Please Pass on These Poisonous Plants!

Dog In Bluebell Field

In the South, we love our gardens, but BEWARE! You may be planting poisonous beauties. There are many local plants that are poisonous to your pet. I will focus on the vascular plants found both inside and outside the home.

There are two reliable resources to check out where you can look up any plant found in NC to determine if it is poisonous:

1. Our local NC State University has a website:

2. The ASPCA has a separate toxic-plant list for dogs vs. cats:
Cats –    http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list
Dogs –    http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list

We love our gardens to have unusual plants, yet it might surprise you how TOXIC the following four Southern plants are:
1. Jimsonweed is one of the more common toxic plants. Symptoms that your pet has ingested it  include: dilated pupils, racing heartbeat, hallucination, delirium, aggressive behavior and possibly coma or seizures.
2. Another toxic-perennial used in landscaping is Foxglove. If ingested, symptoms include: nausea, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea and possibly even fatal heart problems.
3. The Castor Bean plant has RICIN throughout, and just 3 of its seeds can kill your pet. Symptoms of castor bean poisoning include nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, internal bleeding, and kidney and circulation failure
4. Oleander is one of the most toxic in the world. A single ingested oleander leaf can kill a large pet. Ingestion of oleander results in diarrhea, vomiting, intense stomach pain, drowsiness, dizziness, an irregular heartbeat, and often, death.

Finally,  take a glance through the lists below. If you have one of these species on your property, make sure it is not easily accessible to your beloved pet!

House Plants you keep indoors:
Castor Bean, Caladium, Dumbcane/Dieffenbachia, Elephant Ear,  English Ivy, Hyacinth, Christmas Holly (mistletoe), Narcissus, Oleander, Peace Lily, Philodendron

Plants found in your flower beds outdoors:
Autumn Crocus, Belladonna (Nightshade), Bleeding Heart, Clematis, Elephant Ear, Foxglove, Holly, Hydrangea, Iris, Larkspur, Lily-of-the-Valley, Lobelia, Morning Glory, Oleander, Peony, Rhododendron, Star of Bethlehem, Wisteria.